Alumni Inspire with Virtual Visit
Monday, 16 May 2016
Old Boys Matthew Entwistle, Tim Lightfoot and Jon Marsden all now live and work in London. However, with a little help from technology, they were able to connect via Skype with Sixth Form pupils and give the current Year 13 an insight into their career paths.
All three alumni left Bolton School in 1993 for university, but following their degrees they took very different routes into the world of business. For the young men who are about to embark on their own journey into higher education and the world of work beyond, this was a really useful opportunity to hear from and speak to those who have already been through this, and found different ways to succeed.
Matthew is Group Managing Director at Two Circles, one of Europe’s leading sports marketing agencies. He talked about some of the things he has learned during his career, such as his experiences while helping Tesco to vastly increase the number of Tesco Express stores, and his reasons for moving to Monsoon Accessorize and the very different feel at the company. He also spoke about studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford, and how the Economics aspect of his degree showed him a different way of thinking which changed his feelings about what he wanted to do.
One of the Sixth Form pupils asked Matthew if he had any regrets. He said that he wished he had understood his passion and followed it earlier. He therefore advocated keeping options open, especially for someone who isn’t sure what they want to ultimately do in their career.
The next speaker to join the Year 13s through the Skype call was Jon, a self-employed Business Analyst specialising in Asset Management. Picking up where Matthew left off, Jon said that his one regret was not deciding to change his course when he realised that his degree was not for him. He talked about some of the important lessons he has learned in business, from the difference that a good manager can make, to making contacts and maintaining positive connections with people, to simply having confidence in himself and his skills.
When asked to compare being self-employed and working on contracts to being permanently employed by a company, he had a particularly interesting answer. He explained that he once thought the idea of contract work and self-employment was daunting, but this changed when h moved jobs into what he thought was a permanent position, but due to restructuring within the company, he was made redundant within six weeks. This made him ask the question, “How permanent is ‘permanent’?” and was one of the reasons he took the leap to become self-employed.
Tim is a qualified chartered accountant who now works in finance, and is currently in the role of Group Financial Controller with Welcome Break. He described the positive experience that he had early in his career while on an ACA Training Contract: as he was working with a small company, he was able to learn quickly, get lots of experience in many different areas and find out what he was good at and liked doing. He also discussed the importance of knowing when to move on, and advised pupils to take the opportunity to work abroad if it’s offered to them to broaden their experiences.
He was asked by one of the pupils if there was anything he learned at Bolton School that he took into his various roles in business. He replied that his time at School taught him to lead, by encouraging his team o want to move forward with him, instead of just managing them.
The talk from the three Old Boys was an inspiring experience for the Year 13s. It was a good opportunity for them to speak to alumni who have gone on to find success in business through diverse routes. The Sixth Formers found it very interesting to hear about their differing experiences and were keen to ask questions throughout.